I remember back when atheists were easy to identify. I could pick them out because they wore lab coats or tweed jackets with patches on them. They could be found in universities where they would talk about NPR and Origin of Species. They looked down on everyone, but especially Christians because they hated God and morality and America.
When atheists fit into neat little boxes, it makes it much easier to nod our heads in agreement with those who would demonize them. They are the ones responsible for clerks who say Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. They are the ones responsible for the lack of organized prayer in schools. They are the ones responsible for the removal of the 10 Commandments from court rooms.
Therefore, they are the ones responsible for mass shootings of kindergarteners.
Of course, it’s not the atheists that WE know. No, those atheists are okay.
It’s those other atheists. You know. The rabid atheists; the angry atheists; the militant atheists.
The atheists we know are just regular people. They help rescue dogs. They grow gardens and cook delicious turkey. They coach speech teams at the high schools where they teach. They help keep the Rail Trails clean.
They cry when they hear about mass shootings of kindergarteners.
But those activities don’t boost television ratings. The atheists we know are just…people. Sure, they might crack an irreverent joke and they probably won’t show up at your church, but for the most part they’re just decent folks who you can talk to about the Steelers and The Walking Dead and what your kids are learning in school. Folks with whom you can share a bottle of wine and a hug.
They’re the kind of people you can sit with quietly and shake your heads about the mass shootings of kindergarteners.
But those other atheists? You’d better watch out for them.